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Verdict: 
Beautifully made and super-light race saddle that's a comfortable, if firm, companion on fast rides
Weight: 
130g
Contact: 

The Repente Aleena 4.0 is an innovative design that backs up its unique functionality with a beautiful design. It's very light and comfy in a race-saddle way, and the interchangeable covers allow you to modify the feel of your saddle without changing its position. You'll pay heartily for the privilege though.

  • Pros: Beautifully made, comfortable, light, configurable
  • Cons: Expensive, small parts can be lost

The main news here is the Repente Locking System. Repente saddles are modular, with a separate base and cover. The base is made in an autoclave (a pressurised oven) and it's almost entirely T700 carbon fibre; it has carbon rails and a wide central channel, connected at the nose and the tail. The only bits of the base that aren't carbon are the three alloy mounting points for the cover, which has three corresponding alloy pins. You poke the pins through and secure in place with a small clip. There's a rubber O-ring between the base and the cover for a bit of extra cushioning over and above what the base and cover provide.

> Buy this online here

First things first: goodness, this is a lovely thing. Sometimes when you get a really expensive bit of kit it's difficult to see where the money's gone, but not here: the base is a sublime piece of design and craftmanship, and both that and the cover are beautifully finished.

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'Marvel at the smoothness and lightness of the best carbon fibre composites,' says Repente. And I did. I know, I'm getting misty-eyed over a saddle. I should have a word with myself. Anyway, Repente is confident enough of its craftsmanship to offer a four-year guarantee.

The covers are interchangeable, and at the moment there are three, of which I've tried two. The lightest of the three is the Aleena 4.0, which apes the split design of the base but without the bar at the back tying the two halves together. The base and the cover together as a saddle weigh in at an impressive 130g. It measures 142x260mm (276mm to the back of the base bar).

For an extra 5g you can swap the Aleena 4.0 for the Comptus 4.0, which is the same shape and padding but without the cutaway, and the Kuma 4.0 is a solid design that's more heavily padded. Even then, it's still only 145g which is easily in super-light territory. We haven't tested many saddles lighter than the Aleena 4.0 (although there are some really light ones out there – this one from Selle Italia, for example), but at not much under £300 it's certainly an expensive way of dropping some grams. Your stock saddle is probably 250-300g, so as a ballpark it's a couple of quid for every gram saved.

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The shape, says Repente, is 'based on an average human build'. It's neither unusually flat nor unusually curved in profile, and is slightly shorter than average in length. 'This will help you feel more comfortable in the saddle and to move with the greatest ease from the sitting to the sprinting position and vice versa,' says Repente. It's not miles away from a Rapha Pro, or a Fabric Scoop Flat in terms of overall shape. Changing the cover can add padding (Kuma) or fill in the cutaway (Comptus) but the basic shape is very similar whatever the cover, as it has to fit on the same base.

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Changing from one cover to another is pretty trivial: unclip the clips, lose one down the gaps in your decking (I only did that once, and there are spares in the box), fit another one and re-clip. It takes about a minute. It's easier if the bike's in a workstand and tilted vertically, but you can do it in the shed at a push. There are five designs in each of the three covers, but they don't stray far from the mainstream: white or black, with highlights of a contrasting colour (white, black or red). You should be able to find one that matches your steed well enough, though, assuming you're not running orange bar tape or something.

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All the talk of the Aleena's good looks and charm would be neither here nor there if the Repente didn't work as a saddle, but it works very well.

The base has been designed to offer a bit of flex, controlled by the bridge at the rear, and when you concentrate on your sit bones you can feel a little of that mobility when you're riding along. Most of the time you won't be concentrating on your sit bones though, unless your sit bones are hurting. And that wasn't the case for me here: even though the padding on the Aleena (and the Comptus, which I also rode) is pretty thin the Repente didn't ever feel uncomfortable.

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It's not a sofa: it's fairly firm in feel, but for a race saddle it's plenty comfortable enough for some long rides. I did a couple of pretty long days (120km+) on the bike with the Aleena fitted, and save for a brief thought about the firmness when I first set off I didn't really think about the saddle much at all. That's what you're looking for in a seat, really.

> Buyer's Guide: 10 of the best high-performance saddles

There's a 60-day money back guarantee from Repente if you buy one of these saddles and you're not happy with it. I'm certainly happy with mine. Okay it's a pretty expensive way of getting some seating real estate on your bike but it's supremely light and pretty comfortable, with the option to have more than one seating option available without swapping out the base, or you can swap your chosen cover between bases on different bikes.

The Repente is certainly Sunday best equipment, but performance is good and weight is exceptional. If you have the pockets for it and you want to treat yourself, I can recommend it.

Verdict

Beautifully made and super-light race saddle that's a comfortable, if firm, companion on fast rides

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Repente Aleena 4.0 saddle

Size tested: 142x260mm

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Seats without a 'Dark Side'

If you want to fully appreciate the quality of a REPENTE seat, do not stop at the surface. Turn it over and check what's underneath. A REPENTE seat does not have a 'dark side': ours is a 360 degree approach to quality. Inspect every detail of the innovative Rc-base: its carefully shaped design with a clever combination of thicker areas and gaps, materials that blend into each other and harmonious lines. Marvel at the smoothness and lightness of the best carbon fibre composites. In a REPENTE seat, nothing is hidden: what you see is what you get.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

AUTOCLAVE RESISTANCE ENHANCEMENT

The structural components of REPENTE seats are produced using T700 carbon fibre. Machining is not done by moulding, but by autoclaving. This process requires longer working cycles and higher production costs, but the quality of the end product is significantly higher. The carbon fibre composite will not undergo external stress, therefore, its mechanical properties remain unchanged. In addition, autoclave processing eliminates the problem of micro-gaps in the fibres. The applied A.R.E technology allows us to make the best use of the carbon fibre material and ensure the highest degree of strength and reliability for our seats. Four years of guarantee are our pledge to you.

DIFFERENTIAL SECTION RAILS

In a REPENTE seat, the rail does not just have a supporting function. The horizontal elements of the carbon fibre structure have been designed with differential cross-sections – to achieve the right mix of rigidity and flexibility throughout the support plane. The rear ends have been flattened to provide more homogeneous rigidity to the most heavily stressed part of the seat, while the front ends merge into a single, sturdy structural element. Pressure applied to the seat in the various riding stages is always under control. Smooth lines are also at the front, where the two modulated section support arms harmoniously blend into the tip.

JUST THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOU

The width of the seat is the result of anatomical measurements and shaping based on an average human build. Repente has developed three different shapes: ALEENA, COMPTUS and KUMA. Thanks to the test seats available at our dealers', you will find the solution that best suits your physical characteristics and riding style.

Compact dimensions, light weight and freedom of movement are the guidelines that we followed to determine the exact length of REPENTE seats. Our seats are slightly shorter than the standard sizes: this will help you feel more comfortable in the saddle and to move with the greatest ease from the sitting to the sprinting position and vice versa.

SIDE GUARDS

Even the most careful and diligent cyclist will confirm this: in the long run, all seats will bear scuffs or marks along the rear edges, caused by friction against walls or the asphalt. Seat cover damaging is almost inevitable – which is why REPENTE came up with ISSG (Integrated Shell Side Guards). The carbon fibre Rc-base to which the seat cover is secured has two slight protrusions, which protect the seat cover from accidental friction marks. We know how much you care about your seat: with ISSG , we can help you keep it safe over time.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

This is a lovely thing.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Firm, lightweight racing saddle. The interchangeable covers make it tuneable to your behind.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

It's a fairly feathery thing but it's bearing up fine.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

You can get lighter, but there aren't many saddles that weigh less.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

Good comfort levels, especially considering the amount of padding.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

It's neither good value nor bad, really. You're paying a lot and getting a beautifully made thing that performs well.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Really well: super light and pretty comfy.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The construction, the looks, the performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's in the same ballpark as a lot of other super-light saddles. It's not hard to spend £300 on a saddle these days.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? In all honesty I probably wouldn't spend £300 on a saddle, but you might.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? A well-heeled one, yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A lovely thing that performs very well. It's expensive, but lovely things often are.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 189cm  Weight: 92kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR, Merida Scultura

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.